HYBRID IT - VIRTUS DATA CENTRES

Data centres - the lifeblood of hybrid and remote working By Darren Watkins, managing director for VIRTUS Data Centres.

Right now, few can doubt the importance of the digital infrastructure. In the UK alone, the digital economy accounts for more than 7 per cent of the country’s GDP and this figure is likely to grow as digital dependency becomes more intrinsic in our daily lives. More and more organisations are turning to cloud computing and therefore increasing their data storage needs, resulting in increased reliance on the data centre.

A huge contributor to this reliance is the mass adoption of hybrid working. This has reaffirmed digital’s position as an essential service, on par with utilities like water and electricity. Whilst many organisations are returning to office-based routines as much as possible, most are continuing to practice a hybrid strategy relying heavily on collaborative technology to work effectively and stay in touch with colleagues, suppliers, partners and customers. Whichever strategy organisations are taking, there is an added pressure on the infrastructures of organisations responsible for making digital applications run. As the central infrastructure is fundamental to keeping businesses operating, the data centre continues to be the lifeblood of hybrid and remote working. If organisations are to maintain business continuity, uptime and resilience, they can’t afford to take any risks with their data centre strategies.

Colocation is winning the day

When it comes to hybrid working, much has been discussed about challenges of managing people, employee mental health, productiveness and motivation, but crucially technology and the IT teams have a critical role to play, just as they did at the beginning of the pandemic when they undertook the job of rapidly equipping employees to enable remote working.

Almost all organisations deployed a vast number of apps to help their employees start working remotely, and quickly – a study by Okta put the number at an average of 88 apps per customer - but they don't always integrate seamlessly with existing technology. This mass migration to the cloud drove other issues such as redundancy. A survey by CloudCheckr found that 35 per cent of organisations had unused virtual servers and 32 per cent ran into trouble migrating apps to the cloud where the architecture was not fit-for-purpose. What has become clear is that the

circumstances of the sheer speed at which some of these solutions were implemented has led to an unavoidable "catch-up and patch-up" approach to technology infrastructure.

With the ever-changing needs of working practices in today’s technological landscape, in-house data centres are continually met with the challenge of providing enough space, power and colling. As organisations become more digital and embrace hybrid working, amassing large quantities of data and evolving capabilities that need serious computing power, it’s a forgone collusion that more data centre capacity will be needed.

Already a compelling option for organisations wanting to focus on their core business operations and reduce capital investment in infrastructure construction, many companies are choosing colocation partners to take full responsibility for their physical environment when they simply cannot – either due to cost, expertise or both. Furthermore, to cope with the increased digital traffic associated with hybrid and remote working, colocation providers deliver fully redundant network connections ensuring that customers' business critical applications always run uninterrupted.

The colocation option also addresses resilience, helping to reduce outages and support business continuity strategies. When outsourcing with multiple connectivity options, the potential for carrier failure is greatly reduced, protecting infrastructure performance. Additionally, if something does go wrong, data centres experts are on hand to get the business up and running again as quickly as possible. With resilience such a crucial tenet of success, the expertise of dedicated providers is compelling.

By moving IT infrastructure to a colocation provider, businesses can rest easy with the insurance of scalable services as well as flexibility, resilience, scalability and reliability that organisations need to support workers at multiple locations. It also provides simple and resilient access to public clouds for the ideal hybrid cloud solution that many organisations are moving towards for fast and reliable access.

Ensuring flexibility

If there's one thing that’s characterised this pandemic, it’s uncertainty. For businesses, and their relationships with data centre providers, this means that flexibility is important. Even before the

pandemic, long-term, rigid, data centre contracts were no longer palatable for many organisations where the fast pace of business and technology often required them to change direction quickly. And, right now, the ability to flex and scale as required is increasingly critical.

If enterprises and IT agility are held back by antiquated and inflexible data centre platforms or contracts, they won’t be able to react quickly in line with fast-changing business plans. Instead, flexible contract options provide true commercial and technical agility which benefit enterprises by providing the ability to flex the contracted power, space and time of the service at any point.

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As we continue to move through a period of extreme uncertainty, with additional challenges today including soaring energy costs and supply chain issues, it’s the relationship with your data centre provider that can be the difference between keeping your company running, and failing to survive.

To succeed, it’s important to ensure that your data centre partner is fulfilling all your needs. Is it resilient, taking all the necessary steps to prevent any downtime? Does it have reliable connectivity to the right partners? And is it responsible and taking the right precautions to ensure physical, process and digital security in this testing period?

And finally, does your data centre give you the ability to plan for the future? Once the pandemic ends and businesses recover, you’ll need the flexibility to scale and grow. Look for flexible contract options which provide true commercial and technical agility, so that you’re not just covered right now, but prepared for the future too.


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